Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2019: The More Edition

 

More anti-gun posturing, more diversity deceit, more sympathy for parents who kill their kids in hot cars….more.

1. Leadership Ethics: California Gov. Gavin Newsom shows how not to respond to a tragedy. It has been apparent for some time that Newsom’s objective is to make Jerry Brown look like a thorough and moderate professional by contrast. His reaction to the fatal shooting in Gilroy, California, over the weekend, which took the lives of three people (including two children)  was a) to immediately politicize the tragedy; b) blame Trump, which is pandering gold; c) engage in outrageous hyperbole; d) recycle the silliest of anti-gun tropes, and e) do so while lacing his comments with profanity, because cursing makes bad arguments more persuasive, or something.

Most of his statement before the cameras was inarticulate, stuttering and emotional. Forget about the competent leader’s duty to show calm and professional demeanor so the public knows a capable adult is in control. This is how you signal virtue, and that you care. Once  the honorable Governor of California began talking in complete sentences, this was his approach:

“It’s just an outrage. I can’t put borders up — speaking of borders — in a neighboring state where you can buy this damn stuff legally. How the hell is that possible? [ Comment: How is it possible that states make their own laws, and California doesn’t get to dictate to Nevada? Let’s have a show of state hands to see how many states appreciate Gavin’s state creating a magnet for illegal immigrants, who then can proceed to travel where they wish.] I have no problem with the Second Amendment. [Note: That’s an obvious lie, but we can assume Newsom would say that he supports “sensible gun control,” which in eventually means “no guns.”] You have a right to bear arms but not weapons of goddamned mass destruction. [Note: No rifle, much less single shot rifle, is a weapon of mass destruction, and certainly not a goddamned weapon of mass destruction. This is disinformation, but hey, the governor is hysterical, so give him a break.] You need these damn things for hunting? Give me a break. [Note: The argument that the Second Amendment exists for the benefit of hunters is false, and dishonest, but anti-gun demagogues, especially Democratic governors—New York’s Governor Cuomo has made similar statements—keep recycling it. It convinces ignorant people, you see.] It’s just sickening… the leadership today that just turns a blind eye and won’t do a damn thing to address these issues. [ Translation: “Do something!”] What’s goddamned absent in this country right now is moral authority. [Comment: Whatever that means coming from an official of a party that ridicules and marginalizes religious faith.] California’s doing its part, but Jesus, these guys, the folks in the White House have been supporting the kinds of policies that roll back the work that we’re doing,. [Note: the “policies” Newsom refers to are known as the Bill of Rights.] It keeps happening, over and over and over again, on their damned watch. [Clarification: The shootings happened on Newsom’s watch as well, and before 2017, President Obama’s watch. Newsom didn’t make the “watch” argument then, for some reason]

This was pure, irresponsible demagoguery. As usual, the news media didn’t help by refusing to clarify that the “assault-type weapon” used in the shooting was not the  automatic, military  version of the AK-47 which is illegal, but the legal, single shot version. (“Assault-type” and “assualt-style” mean that the gun looks like an automatic, but isn’t. It is pure deceit. )That would require, however, exposing how ridiculous and dishonest the “weapons of mass destruction” line was.

2. More diversity double-talk. “Diversity” is a device to justify discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity—the good kind of discrimination, of course. As a nice garnish to this morning’s earlier post on the topic, here’s the New York Times:

While about two-thirds of New Yorkers are people of color, two-thirds of the people who run its cultural institutions are white. This disparity is outlined in the results of a new study, commissioned by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio…The study, conducted from August to October of 2018, …found that among the arts workers surveyed, some groups historically discriminated against — including women (65 percent) and disabled people (8 percent) — were actually over-represented. Gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer individuals constituted 15 percent of the work force. But when it came to race, the study found that people of color were significantly underrepresented, especially when looking at upper-level leadership positions and board members…

[T]he city is now asking organizations to work on fixing it. In recent months, 33 cultural institutions on city-owned property submitted plans to boost diversity and inclusion among their staff and visitors; if they failed to do so, the city warned, their funding could be cut.

Here’s my favorite part:

Tom Finkelpearl, the cultural affairs commissioner, said…“We are very careful about the idea that we are not encouraging quotas…We are encouraging practices that are going to result in diverse workforces.”

They are not encouraging quotas, but if quotas for diversity aren’t met, arts institutions will have their funding cut.

3.  The dead twins in a hot car. Juan Rodriguez has been charged with manslaughter after leaving his 1-year-old twins in his  car while he was at work one day last week, killing them by heat stroke. This article appears to be trying to excuse the episode, through an appeal to several rationalizations. “Everybody does it,” or at least quite a few:  the average is 38 per year nationally. “It was just one mistake” is here too, as the reporters quote psychiatrists and other experts who explain that “such memory lapses… have to do with how the brain functions. When people drive a familiar route, they tend to go on autopilot, a habitual state that allows them to multitask and do things like carry on a conversation at the same time.” Oh! So it’s not the father’s fault, then! It’s natural to forget your toddlers are in the car, and to leave them to a horrible death!

Predictably, the over-all thrust of the article is “he’s suffered enough.” Just this month I re-published a 2014 post on this topic, but the first Ethics Alarms analysis of such accidents was in 2010, here, in a post titled “Ethics, Punishment and the Dead Child in the Back Seat.”

Then I wrote in part,

The prosecutors who don’t bring charges seem to be adopting the position that this is a crime that “carries its own punishment,” that applying prosecution and more is inherently cruel, piling on, kicking someone who is not only down, but kicking himself. But the father who accidentally kills his son by striking him too hard while in a rage; the mother whose toddler poisons herself by ingesting the crack cocaine her mother left on the table; even a Susan Smith, who murdered her two children, all have created their own “punishments” too. To conclude that society should just allow these horrors to occur without making the statement, “This is intolerable, and the person responsible for an avoidable tragedy must be held accountable by the law” constitutes a moral, ethical and legal shrug….

When, exactly, should a death caused by another’s negligence rise to the level where it requires official sanction?

…A crime is a violation of a social norm that society has declared is critical to civilized life. No social norm is more important than the duty of parents to care for their children, and it can only be protected and encouraged if society enforces it vigorously and fairly. The single, impoverished mother who leaves her baby with a young sibling while she goes to work at night will be charged with child endangerment or worse if the sibling accidentally scalds the baby to death or drowns her trying to give the child a bath. That mother, however, had less control over her life than the rocket scientist, or any of the sad parents [cited in an article about all the parents who accidentally broil their kids in cars] . We extend them an extra measure of empathy because they seem more like us, perhaps, but there is really no difference. The parents took unacceptable risks with their children’s lives, and children died. Society, through the law, must not simply treat this as an accident, something that couldn’t be helped.

Remorse and regret are not a substitute for punishment, which carries the important function of assigning accountability for the conduct and results society wants its members to avoid. It is irresponsible to rely on feelings, grief and remorse to accomplish such an important goal. Is it a crime to let your own child die in the back seat of a car? Of course it is. And we shouldn’t reduce the significance of  such a crime by refusing to punish it.

I’ll stick with that.

Now here’s the great Shirley Bassey’s “More”…

49 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/30/2019: The More Edition

  1. Please note that Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.

    How is it possible that states make their own laws, and California doesn’t get to dictate to Nevada? Let’s have a show of state hands to see how many states appreciate Gavin’s state creating a magnet for illegal immigrants, who then can proceed to travel where they wish.

    Great point.

    I would also add that borders do not stop drug smuggling.

    That’s an obvious lie, but we can assume Newsom would say that he supports “sensible gun control,” which in eventually means “no guns.”

    Sensible gun control is of a kind with:

    * Sensible Nuremberg laws
    * Sensible Jim Crow laws
    * Sensible Sharia laws.
    * Sensible lynching
    * Sensible “Resettlement to the East”
    * Sensible racial concentration camps.

    : No rifle, much less single shot rifle, is a weapon of mass destruction, and certainly not a goddamned weapon of mass destruction. This is disinformation, but hey, the governor is hysterical, so give him a break

    Support for gun control rests upon a foundation of dishonesty, invincible ignorance, and sheer malice.

    “Do something!

    Congress already did do something when it enacted the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, at a time when criminal homicide rates were at an all-time high, when it could have been truly said that there was an epidemic of gun violence.

    Strangely enough, the Democratic candidates for the nomination for President now oppose this law. Is that not ironic?

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/30/politics/cory-booker-1994-crime-bill-awful-mistake-biden-2020/index.html

  2. 1. Restated Newsome: “Despite the fact that this happened in my state, I bear no responsibility for it and will accept no accountability for any policies that might have contributed to making it happen/worse. It’s Trump’s fault, because Orange Man Bad.”

    Also, according to the SF Chronicle the shooter used a WASR-10, which is a Romanian variant of the AK-47, and it is a semiautomatic rifle (not a single-shot rifle as you said above). From the standpoint of the victims, it is indistinguishable from an AK-47.

    A rifle, any rifle, is to a weapon of mass destruction as a land mine is to an atomic bomb. Both the rifle and the land mine are capable of multiple fatalities unopposed, but not mass casualties (even 20 fatalities does not qualify as a “mass” except in gun control rhetoric). This is idiotic hyperbole unfit even for a politician.

    2. Diversity dissimulation

    NYC: “Use quotas or else. But don’t call them quotas, please.”

    Finkelpearl: “Okay. We just won’t encourage them.”

    Me: “Truth, meet wokeness.”

    “Diversity” is the word we use to replace the term, “reverse discrimination,” because when combined with quotas, that’s what it is.

    3. Infanticide by heat stroke

    . No social norm is more important than the duty of parents to care for their children, and it can only be protected and encouraged if society enforces it vigorously and fairly.

    And yet we never, ever do. And never have. And, probably, never will. Some people get the horns, others get the wrist-slap.

    This is yet another example of how/why that happens. The article says he forgot to drop them off at day care. Yet can anyone imagine getting away with forgetting to feed them, or bring them in the house out of the cold?

    “I forgot” just doesn’t wash.

    Remorse and regret are not a substitute for punishment, which carries the important function of assigning accountability for the conduct and results society wants its members to avoid. It is irresponsible to rely on feelings, grief and remorse to accomplish such an important goal.

    This.

    • Glenn: enlighten me. Why is it inaccurate to call a semi-automatic a single shot? “A semi-automatic rifle is a type of self-loading rifle (also called auto-loading rifle) whose action will automatically cycle (ejects and rechambers) a new round after each shot, but needs the shooter to manually release the trigger and reset/recock the sear and hammer/striker before pulling again to fire another shot; thus, only one round is discharged with each pull of the trigger.” If the trigger has to be pulled for each shot, isn’t that a single-shot by definition?

      • No. By convention, “single-shot” denotes a firearm with no magazine, where a round must be manually inserted into the chamber before each shot.

        • Got it. Such distinctions make it harder to communicate with non gun owners, and I would recommend simpler terminology. Basic English would suggest that a gun that has to be fired (trigger pulled) for each “shot” is a single shot weapon, as opposed to a gun that will fire multiple shots with a single trigger pull. How the gun’s ammunition reaches the chamber isn’t the concern of the typical participant in gun debates—it’s what comes out of the gun, when, and how.

          • Ugh… this makes me cringe. Each field has it’s own jargon, and that jargon doesn’t necessarily map to Basic English, nor should it. Pro bono lawyers are not necessarily fans of Sonny and Cher, nor does that mean there is such a thing as anti-bono. ‘Action’ means different things to film audiences, film makers, lawyers, and also describes a firearm design… fifteen different actions are listed on the wikipedia page for ‘Single-Shot’–and these actions aren’t exclusive to single-shot arms.

            NSSF and Associated Press have published guides to help … unfortunately searching for these finds instead tons of satire and pedantic low-quality articles from people annoyed with the misuse of jargon… Keep in mind that jargon misuse is also done to deceitfully raise support–similar to labeling the wearing of a campaign slogan as hate speech.

      • Jack,

        Glenn is using correct parlance from firearms users. A ‘single shot’ holds exactly ONE round, one bullet, and must be reloaded between shots.

        A ‘semi-automatic,’ pump,’ ‘lever action,’ or any other type of firearm that does not require reloading after every shot (having some sort of magazine or cylinder- think ‘old western revolver’- to hold more ammunition in such a way as to reload from that repository) These require a squeeze of the trigger to produce one, and EXACTLY one, shot.

        Any weapon that fires more than one shot per trigger pull is considered ‘automatic.’

          • They’re mutually exclusive… “Repeater” is the parent which breaks down to “Revolver”, “Semi-automatic”, “Select-fire”, and “Fully automatic” in which mechanisms (that may or may not link to the trigger) exist to hold and move the next cartridge to a firing position. “Single-shot” is separate from all “Repeaters” in that they require the shooter to hold and load each shot. Both “Repeater” and “Single-shot” further break down to dozens of “actions” which more specifically describe operation.

      • Well, I guess it’s not inaccurate technically. But in firearms circles, that particular term is reserved for rifles which manually load a single bullet, normally a bolt-action or falling block rifle that does not feed from a box or tube magazine, or a breach-loading rifle or shotgun. As you well know, there are terms of art in every area of endeavor, and this is one of them.

        But if you want to refer to it that way, it’s your blog, and it is at least defensible on strictly technical grounds. Don’t try it on a gun blog, though. 🙂

    • Was that WASR-10 legally registered as an assault rifle by CA law? As far as I can tell, you can’t own an AK unless it was owned before 2000, registered as an assault rifle before 2001. You cannot sell, or inherit such a rifle in CA. There are special storage requirements and the state annually inspects your home to make sure it is being stored properly. You must pass an ID check to buy ammunition in CA. Did the owner of this weapon comply with all CA laws? No, he violated California’s gun laws. Criminals will not obey the law…duh.

      • Yes, it is, but it was evidently bought in Nevada. I have also seen reports that conflict with the rifle type. Some say it was an SKS, which was the predecessor to the AK-47. The SKS is the same gun that Steve Scalise was shot with by James Hodgkinson.

        So apparently, subject to the usual failings of gun-related reporting, it was legally purchased in Nevada. That leads me to believe that the gun was actually an SKS, since that gun comes in two variants — one which can use a detachable box magazine and the older version which uses an attached, ten-round magazine. The ten-round gun is legal to own in California, and the box mag variant (which takes AK-47 style box magazines) is not legal because of the greater magazine capacity of the AK-47 magazine.

        The SKS is reloaded either one round at a time, or by use of a “stripper clip,” which you can google to see what it is. That was the loading mechanism for the ten-round M-1 Garand as well. It can be a very fast system, but the gun holds a maximum of ten rounds at a time.

        Based on this, and the fact that a Nevada gun dealer could not sell a WASR-10 or SKS with a box magazine to a California resident, nor can a California resident legally purchase a firearm from an individual from another state, I’m leaning toward the 10-round SKS as the murder weapon as it was originally sold.

        But the best I can tell so far is that it was a modified SKS capable of using a standard-capacity AK-47 magazine, and such a gun would not be legal for a California resident to buy either in Nevada or California. So the most likely scenario is that he was a Nevada resident at the time of the purchase, then illegally transported the firearm to California.

        Either that, or it was a ten-round SKS that he later modified himself to accept AK-47 standard magazines. That’s a very easy modification to do that requires only basic mechanical aptitude.

        • Good description Glenn – one minor correction: the M-1 is loaded by means of an “en-block” clip that hold the cartridges together and the entire clip is loaded into the M1 magazine. A stripper clip will temporarily attach to the frame of the action above the magazine and the cartridges are pressed into the magazine – at that time the stripper clip is discarded either manually or by the action of the bolt returning to battery. With practice, either system will result in a very quickly reloaded firearm – though the speed advantage probably goes to the en-block system.

            • I am glad – I felt a bit pedantic putting that comment there after such a good description of the differences between an SKS and AK-47. Some might argue that you were being pedantic by going into that description, but it is a spectacular way of showing how gun laws are so flawed – just changing the gun to accept a detachable magazine makes it illegal in some places – but making that change has a very small influence on how effective the firearm is in use.

        • It is legal to purchase an AK in Nevada, so why couldn’t he (in practice) purchase such a firearm in Nevada? It only becomes illegal when he transports it across the border. Even if it is illegal (under CA law) for him to purchase such a weapon in NV, it is possible that the background check system isn’t set up to prevent such a transfer and, again, he committed the illegal act by purchasing the weapon.

          I am not familiar with laws that won’t let me purchase firearms that are perfectly legal at the point of purchase. I know they won’t transfer such a firearm to an FFL in a state where it is illegal. The reason I ask is that there is a perfectly legitimate reason to purchase a firearm out-of-state that is illegal in your state. You can buy hunting licenses in other states. Some people travel out-of-state to free states to hunt. They can’t own firearms where they live, so they purchase a firearm in the destination state for the purpose of hunting, then sell the firearm before they return home. New York City tried to ban such behavior, basically stating that NYC subjects do not have 2nd amendment rights anywhere in the country, but I think that is backed up in court right now. I remember an article about the lawsuit, but I can’t find it.

          • As it relates to this case, general federal law allows a person 18 or over to buy a long gun at a dealer in an adjoining state, and take immediate possession there after the NICS check. The exception is California, which requires, along with other limits, that the firearm in such a sale be shipped to a California dealer for the transfer to be completed (which final transfer would not occur if the firearm, or buyer, were not Cali-compliant). Nevada dealers know this.

            An ID is required as part of the background check. It appears that this shooter had lived in Nevada for at least a few months, so may have had time to obtain some type of ID indicating Nevada residency, and used that to legally buy the gun.

              • 🙂 Complete this sentence: “Requiring proper ID is racist when used to ensure voting integrity, but not when confirming a legal firearm purchase because _____________.”
                A) White Privilege
                B) Gender Identity
                C) Trump is a Nazi
                D) All of the Above

                Maybe Jack could do a poll.

  3. Well, the Governor does make a point (even if not eloquent) that most state gun laws are meaningless because most people can acquire weapons in other states. I am coming around to the idea that a national law permitting a family member or friend to seek a TRO to remove guns from the home if evidence is presented that the person is having mental or other problems would be effective. It will not eliminate all mass shootings, and maybe not even the recent one in California due to the limited time between purchase and act, but it would save lives. Also, a TRO obviously is not permanent and would be lifted as soon as the affected person could show that he/she was taking meds, in treatment, not a threat, etc.

    Other measures that I think may be effective: 1) requiring insurance; and 2) mandatory criminal fines and jail time for gun owners who do not properly secure their weapons. If your child is able to take a parent’s gun and kills himself or others, then the parent should go to jail.

    Before people jump all over me re the responsibility of gun owners, just about everyone I know has guns. I grew up with guns — they are absolutely intertwined with my family and friends’ hunting and self-preservation culture. Also, just about everybody I know doesn’t secure their guns properly. I recently advised a family member (who has been going through some issues which I won’t discuss here) that guns needed to be removed from the home ASAP. If needed, I would have tried to seek legal action but I didn’t suggest it at the time. I was shocked and pleased when he (a lifetime gun owner/NRA member) did just that and got rid of over 25-30 guns. I didn’t even ask that he get rid of them permanently but he did.

    • Well, the Governor does make a point (even if not eloquent) that most state gun laws are meaningless because most people can acquire weapons in other states.

      That line of thinking implies state drug laws would not work because people can smuggle drugs ferom other states.

      National drug laws do not work because people can smuggle drugs from other countries.

      Maybe the U.S. should conquer the whole world to ensure there is no place people can obtain drugs.

      I am coming around to the idea that a national law permitting a family member or friend to seek a TRO to remove guns from the home if evidence is presented that the person is having mental or other problems would be effective.

      A national law would be beyond the authority of Congress.

      Unlike states (who have general powers, subject to their own constitutions and the United States Constitution) Congress is strictly circumscribed to the enumerated powers in Article I.

      Furthermore, if people are having mental or other problems, why stop at removing guns from the home?

      Why not suspend all law or medical licenses they may have?

      Why not forbid them from having any sort of intimate contact or relationship?

      Why not require them to wear a distinctive badge on the left arm while out in public?

      Also, a TRO obviously is not permanent and would be lifted as soon as the affected person could show that he/she was taking meds, in treatment, not a threat, etc.

      The buirden of making a TRO permanent has always been on the p[arty that seeks to make the TRO permanent.

      requiring insurance;

      What sort of problem is this supposed to solve?

      Are you under the impression that if insurance was required, the Crips, the Mafia, and MS-13 would cease to do drive-by shootings?

      mandatory criminal fines and jail time for gun owners who do not properly secure their weapons. If your child is able to take a parent’s gun and kills himself or others, then the parent should go to jail.

      That is already the law. All states punish manslaughter arising from gross negligence. Allowing a child, via gross negligence, to acquire a dangerous item, whether poison, power tools, firearms, explosives, is a crime, and if the child klills someone with a dangerous item, it constitutes manslaughter. (I would add heavy machinery except for the fact that small children are physically incapable of operating heavy machinery.)

      But this does nothing to deter drive-by shootings.

    • Wouldn’t a more direct approach simply involve beefing up society’s ability to more aggressively treat mental illness? It seems any efforts on this front invariably run into the inexplicably powerful People have a right to be nuts and on the street Lobby.

      • Sandy Hook and the Gabby Giffords shooting in Tucson both involved extremely seriously mentally ill shooters who were not being properly treated, despite familial concerns and efforts of varying degrees.

        • Well, whenever you try to talk about that, people jump in to say “there is no link between mental illness and violence”. I took CNN’s list of the top mass shootings in the country. I only did the top 12 (in order, so there wouldn’t be any cherry picking). This is what I found.

          Stephen Paddock, Las Vegas shooting – mentally ill
          Omar Mateen – Pulse Nightclub – motivated by Islam
          Seung-Hoi Cho, Virginia Tech – mentally ill
          Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook – mentally ill
          Devin Kelly, Sunderland, TX- repeat violent offender, domestic dispute?
          George Hennard, Luby’s cafeteria – unknown if mentally ill, definitely odd
          James Huberty, San Ysidro – possibly mentally ill, definitely odd and very paranoid
          Charles Joseph Whitman, UT Austin-he thought he was mentally ill
          Nicholas Cruz, Marjory Stoneman – mentally ill
          Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, San Bernadino – motivated by Islam
          Patrick Henry Sherrill, Edmond, OK – probably mentally ill
          Nadal Malik Hasan, Ft. Hood – motivated by Islam

          So, from these 12, 6 almost certainly had serious mental illnesses. Two more were probably mentally ill. Three were motivated by Islam. I couldn’t find much about Devin Kelly’s mental state, but he was a repeat, violent offender who committed multiple acts of domestic abuse and animal abuse. His immediate motivation seemed to be a domestic dispute, but his actions seem way out of proportion for a domestic dispute. He may have been mentally ill.

          Draw your own conclusions.

    • Well, the Governor does make a point (even if not eloquent) that most state gun laws are meaningless because most people can acquire weapons in other states

      Or steal them. Or smuggle them in from other countries. Or manufacture them illicitly. Or divert them from corrupt government sources.

      But I assure you state laws are not at all meaningless to the people who actually choose to live within the law, for whom all the virtue-signalling by Newsom and his ilk imposes very real burdens and significant risk.

      Which of course leads said lawful citizens to naturally suspect that these burdens, and not the control of criminal behavior, is in fact the point behind these laws.

      I am coming around to the idea that a national law permitting a family member or friend to seek a TRO to remove guns from the home if evidence is presented that the person is having mental or other problems would be effective.

      I have to wonder: given the existence of such a law at the state level in California, and its abject failure to make a difference here, what precisely leads you to that conclusion?

      Other measures that I think may be effective: 1) requiring insurance;

      Effective at discouraging gun ownership or effective at reducing violence? Obviously the former, since:

      1) You cannot insure against intentional criminal acts by the insured.

      2) There is no basis in law for assigning liability to a victim of theft for the criminal use of what was unlawfully taken from them by a third party.

      3) If there were any genuine question of liability, most lawful gun owners are probably already covered through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

      and 2) mandatory criminal fines and jail time for gun owners who do not properly secure their weapons

      Again, I have to question what led you to this conclusion when the present case involves no such issue.

        • That’s absurd and/or idiotic. I laid out some concrete ideas, I didn’t throw my hands up in the air and say, “Do Something.” Some states already are pursuing the TRO idea. I don’t live with under the fantasy that such laws would stop all mass shootings, but it will prevent a significant number.

          • I am coming around to the idea that a national law permitting a family member or friend to seek a TRO to remove guns from the home if evidence is presented that the person is having mental or other problems would be effective. It will not eliminate all mass shootings, and maybe not even the recent one in California due to the limited time between purchase and act, but it would save lives.

            I think that kind of proposal deserves discussion, but as its advocate, how would you get around the pre-crime aspect of it, which is removing a Constitutional right based on a perceived danger or risk without actual conduct?

            As a lawyer, you know that “mental or other problems” is way, way to broad, and subject to abuse. Depression? Lack of self-esteem? Anger management issues? A bad temper? Deranged, unhinged, unthinking fury at the President of the United States, like the majority of our Facebook friends?

            It’s a serious and legitimate issue to raise, SS. I personally think its a dead end.

            • Why not extend red flag laws to their logical conclusion?

              Why not suspend all law or medical licenses they may have?

              Why not forbid them from having any sort of intimate contact or relationship?

              Why not require them to wear a distinctive badge on the left arm while out in public?

    • There are a couple of problems with the “gun violence restraining order” concept. One, if the person is such an immediate threat, just taking away their firearms does very little to mitigate that threat. They still have access to every other object in the world that can be used to inflict violence, including vehicles, knives, gasoline, etc, (even perhaps other guns that the cops aren’t aware of), and now they have an enhanced feeling of paranoia and persecution, and thus a more urgent desire to commit violence, because the cops just showed up and told them that they were a dangerous risk. This does not seem like a solution that will do much to reduce violence overall, just one that may prevent or delay a vanishingly-small fraction of “gun violence”.

      If the order is issued either mistakenly or maliciously, and the subject is in fact not a threat, how does one prove it? I’m at a loss to think of how I would react in such a situation, and what evidence I could marshal to prove that I’m not a dangerous person. Judges are humans too, and most will likely choose to cover their own asses by approving and upholding such an order, rather than take the chance that the person in question might kill someone, putting the judge at the center of a public furor over how “the system failed”. So how do you provide convincing enough “proof” that you’re not a potential mass murderer to a judge who is likely quite skeptical of anything you’re going to say?

      The whole idea is edging too close to Minority Report-style “pre-crime” for my taste. I suspect that the only reason we’re seeing this “solution” proposed in various states is because there are too many obstacles, both legal and political, to just locking up “possibly dangerous” people who haven’t yet committed any crime, just on the say-so of their relatives. I suspect such a law, if implemented nationwide, would see far more use as a tool for revenge and harassment than it would in preventing deaths.

      • 1) It is easier to kill a lot of people with a gun. Other methods will not have the same kill rate and/or will involve a lot of planning (for e.g., researching how to make a bomb, getting the materials, etc.). Anything that causes a delay will either stop the event from happening or allow the opportunity for police or medical intervention.
        2) Getting a TRO is not easy and is not without its burdens. For e.g., if I had pursued this route, I would have to presumably take time off of work, spend money on court filings, probably retain an attorney, and then actually prove my case. On top of that, if I was wrong or just being an asshole, I would have to deal with significant familial problems.
        3) This is not pre-crime. No one is being locked up. The person in question has the right to show mental competency. Indeed, this doesn’t even come close to the laws that exist in every state that allow a person to be sent to involuntary mental inpatient therapy (sometimes for several months) if a family member or friend shows that the person is a danger to himself or others. Unfortunately, no state has enough beds to meet these needs, so people are released too early or do not get placed at all. At least my proposed measure would allow people to seek outpatient therapy, remain in their jobs (if they have jobs), and prevent the risk of a mass shooting until that person seeks help.

    • Well, the Governor does make a point (even if not eloquent) that most state gun laws are meaningless because most people can acquire weapons in other states.

      Well, only in the sense that criminals tend to ignore laws, which is why they are criminals.

      Also, people from California cannot legally acquire firearms in other states that are not legal in California.

      So in other words, either the gunman illegally procured the firearm in Nevada, legally procured it (as a Nevada resident) and then illegally transferred it into California, or legally purchased the gun in Nevada and modified it into an illegal weapon in California.

      The last possible scenario is that he legally purchased a ten-round gun in Nevada which is legal in California and the reporting that it has a greater capacity than that is mistaken.

      Just so you have your gun facts straight.

      I don’t think a national red flag law would be constitutional. That would be the purview of the states, I think.

      Requiring insurance is an unconstitutional burden on the right, as it may place gun ownership out of financial reach for many people. Effectively, a poll tax for guns.

      Mandatory criminal penalties for unsafe storage is unnecessary, in my view. Negligence directly resulting in homicide is already subject to criminal and tort law.

      It is also unconstitutional to penalize a crime victim for the criminal actions arising from the conduct of another person. If a person breaks into my home and steals my firearm, then kills somebody, I have been victimized as well as the murdered person. I stored my firearm locked in my home. That is sufficient. It is a crime to break into a home, not homeowner negligence for not buying a security system or hiring a security guard.

      Also, just about everybody I know doesn’t secure their guns properly.

      The definition of properly secured firearms is highly subjective. For many politicians, there is no level of security that would be enough. This is an unconstitutional burden on the right, and there is no definition of “properly secured,” nor could there be.

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